Photo from Faith No More Blog
Interview by Pete Crigler
Dean Menta has been involved with many bands. A San Francisco based guitarist, he got his start in DUH, one of the weirdest, most eclectic and amazing bands ever signed to Alternative Tentacles. After releasing The Unholy Handjob, Menta was drafted in to Faith No More, a band heíd previously worked with as Roddy Bottumís keyboard tech. Temp guitarist Trey Spruance had left and Menta wound up in the slot. After leaving the band, he quickly joined the legendary Sparks, where he remains to this day. In 2014, we sent some stuff back and forth and this is that result.
PSF: When did you first get interested in music?
Dean: In utero.
PSF: How did DUH come about?
Dean: I met Greg Werkman and he asked me to play guitar for a new incarnation of (SF band) DUH. We rehearsed at Alternative Tentacles and play some shows opening for friendís bands. We sucked so bad that we were almost good. Somehow, we wrote a few songs and I recorded them and AT put that out as an official release. It was fun but I donít really understand what it all meant, if anything at all.
PSF: Any interesting stories from that period?
Dean: We opened for L7 at the Whisky and offended them so badly they kicked us off the next show. Greg was so wasted he almost got arrested. You can hear it on the CD Unholy Handjob final track ("Pricks are Heavy").
PSF: How did you get involved with L7?
Dean: I met Jennifer Finch when L7 toured with FNM in Europe in 1992. We were together for a few years and I hung out with the whole L7 crew during that period.
PSF: How did you become Roddyís keyboard tech and how did that lead to you joining the band?
Dean: I was working at an art gallery in SF and running a digital recording studio there. Roddy came in one day inquiring about classes I was teaching. He eventually hired me to tutor him on the new computer-based digital audio technology that was developing at the time (1991). Soon after we became friends and then he needed a keyboard tech for the big Guns Ní Roses/Metallica tour, so he asked me to do that.
PSF: What was touring for King for A Day/Fool for a Lifetime like?
Dean: Weird & fun; seems like a long gone, difficult to remember dream really. After finishing the previous FNM tour as a keyboard tech, which lasted almost 2 years I think, I was kinda over the whole rock & roll touring life thing. Then Trey quit FNM and they asked me to join the band. I think I had less than 1 month to learn all songs and prep for tour. I enjoyed most of that experience but the bandís interpersonal dynamics were so strained at that time that it made it difficult to fully enjoy being a freewheeling rock star.
PSF: What caused your departure from the band. Were there any bad feelings?
Dean: I think a decision was made to stop the KFAD tour early because ticket sales were really down or something like that. Then certain members of the band wanted to immediately start writing songs for another record. I think at that point in time we were all burnt out, at least I was. I was living in L.A. with Jennifer at that time and was trying to go back and forth to SF for rehearsals. Writing songs was not going very smoothly and eventually I think I got pushed off the boat before it totally sunk, so to speak. I was disappointed and yet relieved that it was all over. I was mostly baffled and confused by the entire experience. I did have bad feelings afterward, but theyíve faded away a long time ago. I still love and admire those guys a lot.
PSF: When did you come to join Sparks and what was that experience like?
Dean: I met Sparks when FNM collaborated with them on their CD Plagiarism. We stayed in touch a bit after that as I was living in L.A. and so were they. Eventually they asked me to help out with guitar stuff on Lilí Beethoven (around 2002) and Iíve been working on various things with them ever since. I love Ron & Russell so much and we have a really good working relationship. I consider Sparks true pioneers and musical geniuses and always inspiring to work with.
PSF: How was it joining FNM on stage in 2010?
Dean: It was scary to get on stage mid-show because they create such intense energy as a live band that it was hard to just jump up there cold. But, I loved that I got to play with Ron & Russell and then alone with the band. All in all it was an enjoyable experience, albeit entirely surreal.
Also see our Faith No More article, an article about FNM's Angel Dust and a tribute to FNM singer Chuck Mosley
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